Civis Romanus Sum

(I am a Roman citizen)

As Paul stood bound and for the whip outstretched,
He said to the centurion beside,
“‘Tis lawful here for you to flog a wretch,
A Roman citizen and not yet tried?”

The mere centurion on hearing went
And to the tribune swiftly said, “Take heed!
What art thou ’bout to do? What foul intent!
This man, a Roman citizen, doth plead!”

Ere Rome’s decline, one treasure, civitas,
The whip could stay, all civil rights obtain,
And fill Paul’s captors with such grave distress
For having put a citizen in chains.

To reap respect, and envy, civil bloom,
One merely said, Civis Romanus sum.



Alex Rubstein is a grade 12 student homeschooled in Canton Aargau, Switzerland.

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8 Responses

  1. Anna J Arredondo

    Nicely done, Alex. I particularly like the rhyming of English with words of another language, as you’ve done twice in your sonnet.

  2. Tamara Beryl Latham

    Words of wisdom from Paul that saved him from an immediate lashing and
    poetic words from you, Alex, that force the reader to contemplate Paul’s
    genius and his specific knowledge of Roman law. Great poem. 🙂


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